Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Should I Quit My Job?

I get asked this question a whole lot. Here's my answer:

In this economy? What, are you nuts? That’s not really a legal question, but unless you have another job lined up, probably not.

I’m being harassed? Should I quit?

See answer above. But now we’re getting closer to a legal question.

In general, at least in most states, harassment isn’t illegal. Bullying isn’t illegal. If you’re being harassed due to race, age, sex, disability, color, national origin, religion, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, objecting to an illegal practice of the employer, making a worker’s compensation claim, taking Family and Medical Leave, your testimony under subpoena, serving on jury duty, or some other legally-protected category, then, and only then, may the harassment be illegal.

For discrimination, you’re only protected if the employer has 15 or more employees. For Family and Medical Leave, they must have at least 50 employees. For other categories, check your state law to see whether you qualify. So you need to be sure the law protects you. Think you’re protected?

Still, you should not quit.

What you should do is report the harassment to human resources or whoever is named in the company’s harassment policy. I recommend you report it in writing so they can’t deny that you did it. You have to give them time to investigate and take action to stop it.

If they don’t stop it, or if they fire you for reporting it, then contact an employment attorney to discuss your remedies.

The truth is, only under the most extreme circumstances will the courts find that you were "constructively discharged," that is, that your quitting was because no reasonable employee would tolerate the circumstances. Should the law change? Probably. So talk to your legislators and congressional representatives.

In the meantime, the law hates quitters.

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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.